Food - Drink
Ensaymada: The Filipino Breakfast Staple You Need To Try
By HOPE NGO
Given that the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 330 years, early Filipino versions of the ensaimada — a type of soft bun — were similar to ones found in Mallorca, Spain, the bread's place of origin. While Mallorca's ensaimada hasn't changed, the Filipino version has evolved and morphed into ensaymada, an iconic breakfast staple.
Mallorcan ensaimadas are made with bread flour, water, sugar, eggs, a starter, and lard, but Filipino ensaymadas usually have egg yolks and more fat. Cookbook author Jenny Orillos adds that all ensaymada starts with "the same basic ingredients [...] but the formulation (amount), method (sponge and dough, straight dough), rolling technique, and topping may vary".
The ensaymada closest to its Mallorcan ancestor is the Manila-style ensaymada, and another popular style comes from Pampanga province, where ensaymadas are larger, golden-yellow, filled with butter, and topped with sugar and grated cheese. Meanwhile, Bulacan versions of these buns are topped with salted egg or stuffed with ham.
Ensaymadas can be bought at different price points, from affordable breakfast buns to more extravagantly dressed ones that are holiday indulgences. However, Orillos says that what counts is the quality of the bread: "If you take out all of these trimmings and you have lousy bread underneath, it kind of ruins the whole ensaymada experience."